Daily Archives: September 17, 2018

Altus Group Report Reveals Shifts in Trade Policy, Technology and Financing Are Disrupting Global Real Estate Development Industry

International trade uncertainty, widespread construction skills shortage creating perfect storm for escalating project costs; property development leaders split on potential impact of emerging technologies

TORONTO, Sept. 17, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Altus Group Limited (“Altus Group”) (TSX: AIF), a leading provider of software, data solutions and independent advisory services to the global commercial real estate industry, today released the Altus Group Real Estate Development Trends Report, which provides an outlook of a global property development industry being hit by rapid change from disruptive market forces that did not exist a few years ago or have evolved substantially.

According to the report, which is based on a global survey of more than 400 property development executives, 68% said cost escalation is the biggest business challenge they are facing over the next five years. Several related factors account for this, which in combination are creating a ‘domino effect’ for developers:

  • 34% of developers view cross-border trade policy as having a negative impact on the industry as uncertainty continues about future implications stemming from international tariffs and trade agreements
  • 65% of developers are facing challenges with labour shortages, which are exacerbated by government policy and booming demand
  • 60% of developers are concerned about the development approval process which is often complex and protracted

“It’s clear from the report that the global development sector is facing an increasingly complex set of challenges and rapid change, from escalating construction costs through to a sea-change in the development financing environment,” said Bob Courteau, Chief Executive Officer, Altus Group. “However, development leaders clearly see significant opportunities to manage risk and take advantage of changing conditions through a number of future-ready strategies including investments in technology and performance management along with consideration of new ways of managing and financing projects.”

When asked about the impact of emerging technologies on the property development industry, many respondents expressed a significant degree of uncertainty around some technologies that are experiencing successful application and adoption in other industries. Only a minority of respondents recognized a potential for major disruptive change with certain technologies:

  • 3D printing – 65% see little to no impact / 16% anticipate major disruptive change
  • Process automation – 56% see little to no impact / 22% anticipate major disruptive change
  • Augmented reality/Virtual reality – 45% see little to no impact / 20% anticipate major disruptive change

Development industry leaders seem to have significant reservations about the potential impact of 3D printing, a rapidly evolving technology which is already being applied successfully to smaller scale development projects in countries such as China, Netherlands and USA.

Respondents, however, appeared to acknowledge the potential of more established technologies. Smart building technologies were regarded as the most disruptive, with 49% expecting major disruptive changes, and 42% anticipating a significant impact on efficiencies and how development is conducted.

Finally, the report also indicated a decade-on shift since the financial crisis in financing patterns, away from traditional and institutional lending, with 82% of respondents reporting they were utilizing at least one source of alternative financing while 46% are using traditional or institutional financing. Further, over 45% indicated they were considering, planning or utilizing some form of alternative financing exclusively.

This shift has coincided with a rapidly expanding range of financial options and sources coupled with a substantial increase in global capital inflow into real estate in recent years. Many alternative lenders and private funds have actively positioned themselves toward the space of traditional lenders, with investors increasingly seeing real estate as an income source as well as an opportunity for premium returns on the equity and joint venture structure side.  In addition, there has been an increase and acceleration in the adoption and utilization of real estate joint ventures with 62% of development executives indicating they are considering entering into partnerships or joint ventures.

The Altus Group Real Estate Development Trends Report is based on a global quantitative survey of 417 property development C-level and senior executives in both front and back office positions at property development firms and owner operators and owner investors with property development divisions in North America, Europe, Middle-East, Asia-Pacific and Latin America. All firms represented in the survey had a minimum development pipeline equivalent to at least US $250 million each under development at the time of being surveyed. The survey research used to help form the basis of the report was conducted by leading international research firm, IDC, in May 2018. A copy of the full report can be downloaded at https://www.altusgroup.com/global-real-estate-development-trends-report/.

About Altus Group Limited

Altus Group Limited is a leading provider of software, data solutions and independent advisory services to the global commercial real estate industry. Our businesses, Altus Analytics and Altus Expert Services, reflect decades of experience, a range of expertise, and technology-enabled capabilities. Our solutions empower clients to analyze, gain insight and recognize value on their real estate investments. Headquartered in Canada, we have approximately 2,500 employees around the world, with operations in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. Our clients include some of the world’s largest real estate industry participants. Altus Group pays a quarterly dividend of $0.15 per share and our shares are traded on the TSX under the symbol AIF.

For more information on Altus Group, please visit: www.altusgroup.com.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:

Altus Group Limited
Jeff Hayward
Vice President, Global Marketing & Communications
416-234-4212
jeff.hayward@altusgroup.com

Media Contacts
Proof
Sabena Singh: 416-969-2735; ssingh@getproof.com

FTI Consulting
Phil Kennedy: +44 (0)20 3727 1286; altus@fticonsulting.com
Tara Nash: +61 (0)2 8298 6100; tara.nash@fticonsulting.com

CP Kelco Announces 2018 Pricing Increase of Carboxymethyl Cellulose (CMC) Portfolio

ATLANTA, Sept. 17, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The CMC business unit of CP Kelco announced today it will increase pricing of its entire CMC product portfolio up to 10% globally, effective October 17, 2018, as contracts allow.

The price adjustments are driven by the continued increase in the cost of key raw materials used to produce CMC (also known as cellulose gum).

“We recognize that price increases are generally not welcome, but with this decision, the CMC unit of CP Kelco will be positioned to continue providing a sustainable supply of quality CMC products to the market over the long term,” said Victor Dean, SVP and General Manager of CMC at CP Kelco.

About CMC Business Unit of CP Kelco

The CMC business unit of CP Kelco is a leading innovator in the modification of cellulose-based raw materials. Our goal is to be the preferred partner for providing innovative CMC products and solutions through the use of nature-based chemistry.  We continuously strive to provide product innovation and outstanding service to our global customers.

About CP Kelco

Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, and part of J.M. Huber Corporation, CP Kelco is a leading producer of specialty hydrocolloids with offices and facilities across the globe. Featuring an extensive range of hydrocolloid solutions and serving over 100 countries, CP Kelco leverages its capabilities to bring concepts and ideas to real-world products in a broad range of applications. The company’s specialty ingredients touch a wide variety of consumer and household products and industrial applications, tailored to meet the needs of regional consumers. Key product lines are Gellan Gum, Pectin, Xanthan Gum, CMC/Cellulose Gum, Carrageenan, Diutan Gum and Microparticulated Whey Protein Concentrate, as well as other unique biopolymers. Visit http://www.cpkelco.com/ for more information.

CONTACT:
Nick Wilson
Office: +44 1372 365 826
Mobile: +44 7753 864 301
nick.wilson@cpkelco.com

Everest, ID2020 and the Government of Indonesia (TNP2K Secretariat) Announce Innovative Identity and Blockchain Pilot Solution to Enhance the National LPG Subsidy Program

The pilot program, with financial support from ID2020, adds transparency and accountability with biometrics and secure transactions to the national LPG subsidy program

SAN DIEGO, Sept. 16, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Everest, the first platform to combine biometric identity with a digital wallet, announced today that it is partnering with Indonesia’s TNP2K (National Team for the Acceleration of Poverty Reduction) to conduct a pilot in selected regions to enhance the efficiency, accountability, transparency, and gender inclusivity of the National LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) Subsidy Program.

By leveraging blockchain technologies, the Everest platform helps deliver subsidies to digital wallets, enabling those who meet the requirements to realize this important benefit, even users without a mobile device. The LPG subsidy program was developed to provide 41 million Indonesian households with liquified petroleum gas as cooking fuel instead of dangerous and costly kerosene.

“We are very excited to work with the Government of Indonesia to deliver its LPG subsidies,” said Everest CEO Bob Reid. “By delivering subsidies to biometrically validated digital wallets and savings accounts over a transparent and low-cost blockchain, the government is modernizing government service delivery, cutting down on leakage, and enabling banking services with enhanced financial inclusion. We look forward to working with our integrated banking partners and the government to bring additional services to Indonesian citizens over the next few years.”

“This is needed by the Government of Indonesia to provide an option for one of the potential mechanisms for disbursing LPG subsidy,” said Bambang Widianto, Deputy Chief of Staff for Human Development and Equality/Executive Secretary of the National Team for the Acceleration of Poverty Reduction (TNP2K). “The solution that will be tested by utilizing digital ID of beneficiary is expected to transform the current mechanism by ensuring the right targeting. The new mechanism is expected that only those who are entitled (poor and vulnerable household) can enjoy this subsidy and also to save more than USD 1.3 billion in government subsidy funds.”

“ID2020 supports pilot projects that provide broad and sustained benefit for individuals. We are excited by the potential for this project to address an immediate challenge faced by this community, while also opening the door to easier access to other critical governmental programs, including healthcare, education and financial inclusion,” said Dakota Gruener, Executive Director of ID2020.

The first pilot program of its kind in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the blockchain-based solution will focus on several regions in Indonesia and will impact thousands of beneficiaries. Everest’s technologies will achieve the overarching transparency and accountability required, while also providing beneficiary ranking, know-your-customer verification, secure subsidy transfer, supply chain integration, inventory/cost controls, inter-agency data coordination, and the real-time monitoring of activities. To be optimally effective, the LPG subsidy program needs to interface seamlessly with existing population and poverty-based databases; meet gender inclusivity efforts; and enable turnkey supply/value chain management. Meeting these goals will make the program an effective policy tool for the promotion of safe, clean cooking fuel among poor and vulnerable households.

About TNP2K
TNP2K (National Team for the Acceleration of Poverty Reduction) is a high-level ministerial coordination forum created for the acceleration of poverty reduction in Indonesia. It is chaired directly by the Vice President of Indonesia, who is mandated to carry out oversight and coordination in defining cross-ministerial policies for poverty reduction and social protection through Presidential Regulation No. 15 of 2010. In 2014, the government of Indonesia re-emphasized its commitment to poverty alleviation by enacting Presidential Regulation No. 166; TNP2K’s role also continues through Presidential Regulation No. 96 of 2015. TNP2K plays a key role in poverty reduction and social protection by: promoting programs that use a common method and household list for all social protection programs; improving the performance of poverty reduction programs through reforms in program design; undertaking monitoring and impact evaluation of social protection programs; and supporting line ministries in maintaining quality implementation. For more information, visit http://www.tnp2k.go.id.

About ID2020
The ID2020 Alliance is a global partnership committed to improving lives through digital identity. This alliance of governments, NGOs and the private sector will work to ensure that the technology development is informed by the needs of countries and individuals and that policies and standards reflect the latest technological innovations.  By coordinating funding for identity and channeling those funds towards high-impact projects, this alliance model enables diverse stakeholders – UN agencies, NGOs, governments, and enterprises – to pursue a coordinated approach and creates a pathway for efficient implementation at scale. For more information, visit https://id2020.org/

About Everest (EverID)
Everest is an economic and value transfer platform, anchored in biometric identity, which is the world’s only device-free, globally accessible, self-sovereign digital wallet and payment solution. By leveraging blockchain and distributed storage technologies, Everest empowers banks, governments, NGOs, hospitals, businesses and other institutions to transparently and effectively exchange value with hard-to-reach users, especially the five billion people who do not own smartphones, while giving users the most control and privacy in the market. App developers leverage Everest’s platform for services like remittances, micro-finance, micro-insurance, payroll, cash transfer, KYC/AML, land transactions, medical records, etc. For more information, visit www.everest.org

Media Contact
CSG
John Stavinga
jstavinga@wearecsg.com

Tesla’s Musk Sued for Calling Thai Cave Rescuer Pedophile

Elon Musk, the chief executive of Tesla, was sued for defamation on Monday for falsely suggesting that a British caver who helped save 12 boys and their soccer coach from a Thailand cave in July was a pedophile and child rapist.

Vernon Unsworth sued over Musk’s reference to him in a July 15 tweet as a “pedo guy,” a comment for which Musk later apologized. The suit also claims that Musk called Unsworth a child rapist and sex trafficker in an Aug. 30 email to BuzzFeed News.

Tesla did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Musk and the company.

The complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles seeks at least $75,000 of compensatory damages, plus unspecified punitive damages.

The case adds to a slew of litigation against Musk, including over his running of Palo Alto, California-based Tesla, which the billionaire has said has caused him severe stress.

Unsworth became a target for Musk after cave rescuers rejected Musk’s offer of a mini-submarine created by his rocket company SpaceX to rescue the soccer team, which was finally freed after 18 days in the cave on July 10.

Though Unsworth told CNN three days later Musk’s offer was a “PR stunt” that had no chance of working and that Musk could “stick his submarine where it hurts,” he said that did not justify Musk’s use of Twitter and the media to defame him.

The July 15 tweet by Musk touted the mini-submarine and then, referring to Unsworth with a shorthand description of pedophile, said, “Sorry pedo guy, you really did ask for it.”

Musk apologized on July 18, referring to Unsworth in saying “his actions against me do not justify my actions against him,” and that “the fault is mine and mine alone.”

But the complaint said that in the August 30 email, Musk urged a BuzzFeed reporter to “stop defending child rapists,” and then said Unsworth spent decades in Thailand until moving to Chiang Rai, “renowned for child sex-trafficking,” to take a 12-year-old bride.

Unsworth said all of these accusations were false, and that the defamatory statements “were manufactured out of whole cloth by Musk out of a belief on his part that his wealth and stature allowed him to falsely accuse Mr. Unsworth with impunity” because he disagreed with him about the mini-submarine.

The case is Unsworth v Musk, U.S. District Court, Central District of California, No. 18-08048.

Source: Voice of America

Breeding plants offered to preserve Ngoc Linh ginseng

Kon Tum’s Ngoc Linh Ginseng Company on Sunday gave local farmers more than 46,000 ginseng plants to preserve and expand the product.

Farmer A Hieng of Dak Glei district said controlled breeding is crucial for rebuilding the brand.

This ginseng is valuable, but right now its quality is low due to mass exploitation and poor preservation. Fortunately, the Ngoc Linh ginseng company has preserved the breed of the herb. We will take good care of the plant, A Hieng said.

The Ngoc Linh Ginseng Company currently owns 500 hectares of Ngoc Linh ginseng and has not merchandised their products. Ngoc Linh ginseng contains 52 saponin and is highly effective when it comes to anti-stress and anti-aging treatments. It helps to improve immunity, enhance liver function and lower cholesterol. 1 kilogram of fresh Ngoc Linh ginseng costs nearly 5000 USD.

Source: VOV5

North Korea ready to maintain close relations with China

The North Korea-China relationship is adapting to new demands, President Kim Jong-un said while thanking Chinese President Xi Jinping for having sent Special Envoy Li Zhanshu to attend North Korea’s recent 70thanniversary celebration.

In his message, President Kim said Mr Li’s visit reflects the close North Korea-China partnership, adding that Pyongyang is ready to work with Beijing to strengthen bilateral ties. Li is the highest level Chinese official to visit North Korea since President Xi came to power in 2012.

Source: VOV5

Czech Republic’s exports to Vietnam surge 580.5 percent in July

The Czech Republic’s exports to Vietnam surged 580 percent to more than 45 million USD in July, according to the Czech Statistical Office.

The Vietnam Trade Office in the Czech Republic said that in July, Czech’s major exports to Vietnam included sound and image recording equipment and television sets worth about 40 million USD.

In the first seven months of this year, Vietnam’s exports of audio-visual equipment to the Czech Republic approached more than 200 million USD, followed by footwear.

Two-way trade is forecast to top 1 billion USD this year.

Source: VOV5